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Great Ways to Deal With Youth Training and Recruitment

Youth Training and Recruitment - Football Manager GuideAlmost all Football Manager players know of the term ‘wonderkid’ - a term coined for footballers between the ages of 16-21 who could potentially become world class.

These players are the most popular because of how cheap they can be, and as they are young, they can be sold on for potentially huge profits.

However, many new FMers have no clue how to train them - I know I didn’t - nor the best way of recruiting them.

This is a Football Manager guide on how to do both with some little pro tips from me and some input from another experienced FMer.

Youth Intakes

In most countries, the youth intake brings in players aged 14-17 (some countries don’t go under 15 years of age, such as England).

The intakes in each country tend to happen at a different time of year, with West European countries having theirs fall at around February to March while countries in South America have theirs closer to December or January.

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      • Many people say keep an eye on these intakes, particularly your own, and scout players and bring in the best ones as soon as possible. I tend to agree, but I rely more on Youth National Teams (for example, U19s) as they bring in the best youth players in their country.

        Do this at least once or twice a season, or even after every international break if it suits you. This can be time-consuming as you will have to sift through the obscure countries in the hope there will be the next Messi somewhere.
When your youth intake comes, the first thing you should do is look at the highest stars (so 4 to 5 potential players, although some might end up having better potential later) and check their attributes.

At a young age they won’t look so impressive, but over time, you should be able to spot the diamonds in the rough.

I’m not perfect, but I tend to look for players that have most of, if not all, of the essential attributes for their position and role.

Some attributes, such as determination are not important to look at when they’re so young because someone with higher determination can tutor them.

Any other attributes they’re strong intend to be a bonus. Be careful though because stars can, and do, change in the weeks and months after intakes as the coaches see their abilities better and judge their potential more accurately.

The example below is a GK from my latest intake:

GK from my latest intake

He’s very good. Maybe a bit low on the technical side but better than the average goalkeeper at this age.

His determination is high which is brilliant, less of a tutoring job in this case, and his reflexes, communication and command of area are strong, and his rushing out, an area thats hard to improve, is good so based on those, I know he can become a very good keeper in the future.

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      • For the best possible intakes, continuously ask for upgrades to youth and training facilities and get the best Head of Youth Development with the best possible personality AND the same, or similar, formation and tactical preference.
For example, I play with a passing, possession-focused style and I like to have strength through the middle, so my Head of Youth Development is Frederic Massara - a popular option with FMers.

Head of Youth Development is Frederic Massara

He is also a model professional, a personality that proves to be very attractive because he is more likely to attract a high calibre of player who will have very good personalities.

He has been at my club a long time so some of my recent wonder kids have been because of him.

Youth Recruitment

When I say youth recruitment, I mean buying youngsters from other clubs.

This tactic usually pays off because not all of your intakes will be good, and not all the best players will end up in your intakes.

However, I see this as risky because a youngster that looks like he could be a god at 16 might end up only 3.5 potential by the time he’s 18 and, in theory, ready for the first team.

Therefore, you should wait until they’re 16 or 17, or even 18 - they will be a bit more expensive, but it’s worth having more certainty that they will be good.

For a point of reference, I signed Ocana for 4m at 17 years old and sold him to Chelsea for £160m nearly ten years later, my most successful development of a wonderkid ever and the best player I’ve ever had.

Youth Recruitment


Now all of that is out of the way; we can talk about the important stuff!

Having a good intake and buying the best wonderkids is all well and good, but that’s going to be useless without the boring part of having these awesome looking players.

That part is the training.

Training doesn’t just involve selecting the role that best suits them and training an attribute they are weak on but also tutoring them early on and training their Player Preferred Moves.

I tend to train them on the role I will play them in my tactic, which isn’t necessarily their best role when you first spot them.

If they play a very special role to start with, and my tactic uses a lot of attributes in each role, I train them in the box to box midfielder role, so more of their attributes get trained, and they’re more rounded as a player.

As you can see below, my wonderkid GK is being trained as a sweeper keeper despite that not being his best role, and his individual training is based around his one-on-ones because previously, it was on 11 and now it is 14. It is rather annoying that his rushing out can’t be trained, or that would be the first thing I would train.


I said earlier in the article that determination is one of the less important attributes to look at when they’re still young. This is because you can get them tutored by a more senior player with good determination.

This isn’t the only thing tutoring improves them on - this is visible in the short term of course, but the long-term effects are why tutoring is important.

Tutoring someone with a senior player who has at least a determined or resilient personality (I look to achieve professional or model professional personalities) means they will develop better in the long term than someone who has a negative personality.

After their tutoring has finished (usually at about 18, or once they’ve achieved a desirable personality, whichever comes first), I train their player preferred moves or PPMs.

What these do is they compliment your tactic which means you have to be sure that the PPM will help your tactic or do nothing.

You can’t teach a player a PPM and tutor them at the same time so you have to be mindful of what you think would benefit the player the best as they finish off their development.

For example, the player I showed above is being trained in bringing the ball out of defence because he is always a passing optioning my tactic and training this will make him better at passing the ball under pressure.


In real life, young players are loaned all the time to give them the necessary experience they need to flourish in the first team of their parent club.

Most of the time, this works. However, in the game loans are hard to get right.

I don’t always loan them, and its usual players I won’t play or want to move on quickly.

The players that have high potential and will play first-team football are often put there from 17 or 18.

Below is an example of the kind I would not loan - he has broken into my first team this season and is having very good goals conceded per game rate.


Personal Experience

I will conclude this with my personal experience, and this is my favourite success story, even though it's not my best ever.

This guy, Kovacs, came into my first intake and at my first look, he wasn’t anything truly special, he was strong in most of the key areas, and he was 5 so I decided to sign his youth contract.

He didn’t start playing regular first team football until he was 19 because I nearly forgot about him until I played him in place of an injured player.

He played so well he usurped one of the worlds best wingers and when I looked at him again, I realised I had possibly one of the worlds best wingers and he had almost gone under the radar.


I sold the winger he had replaced for cut value because I was astonished by how good Kovacs was, and 11 years and nearly 100 league assists, 25 in one season, later, he left, one of the worlds best players, to Monaco.

This is him now:


Written by the admins of the Facebook group FM Gaming World.
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FM BLOG: Great Ways to Deal With Youth Training and Recruitment
Great Ways to Deal With Youth Training and Recruitment
Football Manager guide on how to recruit and train youth players the proper way, with some little pro tips to help you in this quest.
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